Massdrop x Sennheiser PC37X Review: An Elusive Gem

The Massdrop x Sennheiser PC37X is a prime example of how to make a great thing better. Building off of the impressive sound and supreme comfort of Sennheiser's PC 373D, the 37X offers an even sleeker design, improved drivers and more versatility, thanks to its analog audio cables. The $119 PC37X gaming headset is an excellent buy for both competitive and casual gamers who are looking to hear every last detail, though getting your hands on one of these headsets is a bit tricky.

Design

The Massdrop x Sennheiser PC37X is a more unassuming version of the already-sleek PC 373D, trading the latter headset's red highlights for a simple but attractive all-black look that will blend into any setup. The headset touts Sennheiser's signature open-back ear-cup design, which allows for huge sound, at the expense of some audio bleed.

Credit: MassdropCredit: MassdropInstead of overwhelming you with knobs and buttons, the PC37X features a subtle volume dial on the right ear cup, and a long, bendable microphone on the left that you can flip up to mute the sound. It's a shame that the mic isn't removable, because this is exactly the kind of headset I'd want to wear when rocking some music on the subway.

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Comfort

I've been using the PC37X as my everyday work headphones for about a week now, and I don't see myself swapping it out anytime soon. Like the 373D, the 37X is far and away one of the most comfortable headsets I've worn, providing a snug but unintrusive fit thanks to the cozy plush cushions on the ear cups and headband.

I often forgot I was even wearing the 12.5-ounce headset, whether I was mashing away at my work keyboard or laying in bed playing Overwatch. The 37X features swiveling ear cups and a headband that you can adjust about 2 inches up or down, so it should be pretty easy to fit it to your head shape.

Gaming Performance

Because most modern games now have their own built-in sound processing, Sennheiser removed the PC 373D's virtual 7.1 surround sound from the PC37X while adding the angled sound drivers found in the company's high-end HD598 and HD600 headphones. The result is a headset that consistently sounds great without any tinkering, though that might put off control freaks who like customized settings.

The PC37X made an excellent companion for Overwatch, a team-based shooter in which it's key to hear the enemy coming. The headset's impressive clarity and directionality allowed me to easily pinpoint the other team's footsteps and gunfire sounds, a feature that proved crucial during a tense, 3-on-3 elimination match.

Mortal Kombat X has some of the most impressively brutal sound design of any fighting game, and the PC37X preserved every bloody bit of it. Punches and kicks resonated with a beefy sense of impact, and the game's flesh-ripping fatalities sounded so crisp, it was wince-worthy.

Sennheiser's headset also proved ideal for getting lost in the atmospheric action of Rise of the Tomb Raider. Hearing the sound of a massive waterfall overhead made it easy to believe that I was in a huge Syrian canyon, while the sounds of creepy insects flanking me on either side made the experience of crawling through a cave immersively creepy.

While I think most PC gamers will be fine with the lack of sound presets, I was a fan of the 373D's software, particularly the ability to amp up footstep noises in the e-sports mode. It's worth noting that my colleagues could hear a bit of my game audio bleeding out, so you might not want to crank the 37X up all the way in the middle of the night.

Music Performance

Considering that the PC37X is a Sennheiser product, it's no surprise that this device makes a perfectly good pair of music headphones. The headset faithfully reproduced the crunchy guitar riffs and menacing double-bass drum beats of the Doom soundtrack, which led to frequent headbanging at my desk.

The PC37X was equally apt at the more chilled-out alternative rock of Balance and Composure, providing equal clarity to each song's bouncy bass, atmospheric guitar riffs and soft vocals.

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Microphone and Cables

The PC37X's microphone offers impressive clarity and noise cancellation. Judging by some recordings I took, my voice sounded full and crisp enough for game chat or live-streaming, though there was some minor distortion, which would keep me from recording a podcast on this mic. More impressively, however, the 37X's mic almost completely blocked out the chatter of two colleagues who were right behind me.

The headset includes a 10-foot, removable cable with 3.5mm headphone and microphone jack, making the PC37X ideal for just about any PC setup. The headset also worked fine over my Xbox One for game audio, though the split cables meant I couldn't chat while playing.

Fortunately, there are plenty of solutions for using the 37X properly on a console: You can get an adapter that condenses the two wires into a single jack, or swap out the entire cable for a standard, 3.5mm audio cord, which you can find for a few bucks.

How to Buy the PC37X

The PC37X is sold exclusively through Massdrop, so getting your hands on one can be a little tricky. You can buy the headset only during one of the website's "drops," which are limited-time events that usually last a few days. The more people who buy during a drop, the lower the final price for each shopper.

If you want to snag your own PC37X, you can place a request on the headset's Massdrop page to be notified for the next drop.

Bottom Line

The $119 Massdrop x Sennheiser PC37X offers just about everything you'd want from a gaming headset; it's sleek, sounds great, has a clear microphone and can be worn comfortably for hours on end. Aside from the lack of audio customization, the PC37X is one of the better headsets in its price range, which makes it a bummer that you can buy it only in limited bursts.

Sennheiser's PC 373D offers the same wonderfully cozy design as the PC37X and features virtual USB surround sound, but costs a lot more, at $249. If you're looking for a great alternative in the PC37X's price range, consider the $99 SteelSeries Arctis 5, which also offers great sound and comfort, plays nice with consoles and PCs, and is sleek enough to be worn as an everyday pair of headphones.

Still, if you're patient enough to wait for your next shot at buying the PC37X, you'll be handsomely rewarded.